How to grow your business

Launching a new business is exciting – but you can really have some fun once your business is established. Work out how to take things to the next level with our guide to planning for and funding your business' growth.

Make the most of your employees

The people who work for you are the best ambassadors for your business. Creating an inspiring workplace can help your business to prosper.

Be clear about what you expect

Write a job description that clearly outlines the responsibilities and benefits of the role.

Be fair

Follow the National Employments Standards, particularly the minimum entitlements employers must provide to employees.

Pay them correctly

Find the pay award that covers your business to make sure you’re giving your employees all of their entitlements.

Invest time in training

The more skills they have, the more responsibility they can share.

Share your goals

Be clear about your vision for your business, and let them know what they are working towards.

Reward your team

It could be as small as a 'thank you' lunch or some vouchers.

Six steps to plan your business growth

1. Take a look at your business

Assess where you are now and where you would like your business to be in one, three and five years. What would you like your business to look like? How will your role in the business change over that time?

2. Review your business plan

Spend a few hours or even a whole day updating your original business plan with new goals and objectives. This will inspire you to find new solutions and is essential if you’re looking for funding or investment to grow. Download our business plan template (word) as a guide to update your original plan.

3. Do a SWOT analysis

Identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to highlight areas for growth and expansion and those you can improve on.

Once you have everything down in writing, you can brainstorm ideas to make the most of your strengths and opportunities and find areas to address your weaknesses and threats.

4. Increase your visibility

There are limitless ways to get your business seen online and offline, so it’s worth creating a marketing plan (word) to be visible in front of the people who matter to your business.

Get involved in community events, explore some different methods of advertising, use social media pages or speak to a marketing consultant for some fresh ideas on how to get your business seen.

5. Consider new partnerships or investment opportunities

Going into partnership, merging or buying an existing business can all be ways to grow your existing business. You can also invest your profits in growth assets such as shares and property to diversify your risk and further your income. A self-managed super fund is another alternative. Each of these options have pros and cons which need to be considered carefully.

6. Ask the experts

When it comes to getting advice and information, there are plenty of small business mentors and advisors, industry experts, market research companies and marketing professionals you can choose from. You may even have friends or family with business experience and some fresh thinking.

Funding your business growth

Once you’ve made plans to grow your business, you might need some extra cash to put them into action. There are many funding options for you to explore and each will come with different benefits and risks that can impact your business.

Let your business fund its own growth

Draw on existing funds or your future surplus cash flow to grow your business. Limit payments out of the business to you and your business partners or take a closer look at your revenue and expenses to see how you could boost your future surplus cash flow to fund your growth plans.

Use your customers and suppliers

Payments to and from your customers and suppliers can have a big influence on your cash flow. Depending on your business, you may be able to ask your customers to pre-pay or provide an initial deposit on sales, which will boost your cash flow. If you’ve built a good relationship with your suppliers, you may also be able to negotiate trade credit terms to buy their goods and services without needing to pay upfront. This will free up some of your cash flow in the short term.

Apply for business grants

If you’re eligible, you could apply for business cash grants or assistance programs. These can supplement other sources of funding, but you might not be able to access the extra money at the time you need it. Check out the Australian Government’s Grants and Assistance Finder to see if there is something suited for your business.

Use your personal assets

Could you or your business partners invest some extra cash into your business? Take a close look at your personal savings or any surplus funds on your existing home loan to see if you can afford to put some of that into your business.

If you really want to free up some cash to grow your business, you could consider selling a car or personal asset, or even downsizing your home.

Get your family or friends involved

Funding from family and friends is often used as a source of funding for businesses. Getting people you know to provide a loan or invest in your business usually means you can have access to extra cash quickly, but remember to consider your relationship too.

Put your agreement about repayments and interest in writing and make sure everyone is comfortable with it before any money changes hands.

Explore crowdfunding

You can secure funding for a new product or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically using a network of online investors. This is a cheap and often fun way to fund your growth, but remember that you need to deliver results, or your crowd of investors could turn into an angry mob.

Invite new investors to get on board

Private investors, business angels or venture capitalists will come with varying experience, expectations and investment terms. With the ideas and networks they can bring, they can give you more than just money, but having investors also means that you need to hand over some control over your business.

Speak to your bank about funding

There are a variety of cost effective funding options available from banks. You could investigate the option of a business credit card to finance your everyday purchases, an overdraft to provide working capital, asset finance to fund purchases of vehicles and equipment, or flexible lines of business credit and business loans.

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The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL / Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.